A flash poll by the German Travel Association (DRV) around the topic of restart has resulted in poor marks for policymakers. Criticism was voiced, more particularly, in respect of the too slow progress of vaccination, quarantine for returning travellers as well as the never-ending appeals of the policymakers to refrain from travelling. Some 600 member companies – travel agents, tour operators and tourism service providers – participated in the survey at the end of February.
About one third of all companies expects the business to ramp up for Pentecost and/or the summer. Only a few of the participating companies anticipate a restart at Easter. Ten percent of the polled travel agents and almost nine percent of the tour operators see no chance at all for a restart of the business during the current year.
Prevailing majority anticipates a maximum of 50 percent of the turnover before Covid-19
Around 90 percent of the travel agents and tour operators anticipate a maximum of 50 percent of the turnover of the pre-Covid-19 year 2019 during the current year; among the tourism service providers this is the forecast of two thirds. Most companies expect a turnover between 25 and 50 percent compared to 2019 - this applies to slightly more than 49 percent of the travel agents, almost 45 percent of the tour operators and 48 percent of the others.
Only two percent of all participants in the poll anticipate more than 75 percent of the turnover of 2019 during the current year.
Should vaccinated people be able to travel without restrictions?
Most of the respondents are in favour of vaccinated people being able to travel without restrictions. Among the travel agents who participated in the survey, the percentage (41 percent) is lower than among tour operators (51 percent) and the other companies (52 percent). All the same, almost 12 percent of the travel agents are not at all in favour of this idea; among tour operators (7.2 percent) and the other companies (6.1 percent) the percentage is significantly lower.
Quarantine after vacation deters from booking
More than three quarters of the respondents mentioned a possible quarantine after the return to Germany as the overriding reason not to book a trip – at travel agents even 82 percent. The quarantine at the destination and the altogether unplannable course of the pandemic with constantly new waves or virus variants and the resulting new travel provisions are impairing the booking decision of the customers. 70 percent of the polled travel agents consider that the repeated appeals of the policymakers not to travel is a serious impediment to booking.
Faster vaccinations are most significant for the restart
The acceleration of vaccination is particularly important for a majority of the respondents, when the restart strategy of tourism is at stake – both at travel agents and tour operators and the other companies of the industry always almost 80 percent of the mentions. A positive communication of policymakers on travel and the abolition of the quarantine after the return journey (except for high-incidence or virus variant regions), which goes along with systematic tests of returning travellers, follow in the ranking.
DRV President Norbert Fiebig comments on the results of the flash poll:
“The results of our flash poll show that the political considerations must now focus on strategies which make international mobility gradually possible again. This includes the acceleration of vaccination in the same way as a conclusive test strategy. Policymakers must stop their appeals to refrain from travel. This is not only important for the travel industry – it is essential for Germany as a business location.
Not only the entire industry but also the people need clear and easily plannable perspectives. Organised travel is provably not the driver of the pandemic – this is not what we say, but that his has been stated by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These findings must be taken into proper account in the political decisions. We must be able to return to normality wherever there is a provably low infection risk. This must now be reflected by the political decisions. Otherwise the economic damage can hardly be repaired.
The loss of turnover made by many travel agents and tour operators can already at present no longer be compensated. It is, therefore, clear that additional support measures must be taken by the Federal Government beyond June 2021. Otherwise we will lose this infrastructure of the travel industry marked by mid-sized companies so far still functioning very well – this must not happen!”
The German Travel Association (DRV) represents the travel industry in Germany. As a top level association DRV bundles a major economic strength. Its members represent the highest share in the sales revenues in the tour operator and travel agent market. The tourism industry offers around three million jobs. Several thousand member companies, including many tourism service providers, have turned DRV into a strong community which pools many different interests, driven by the motto “The travel industry. All destinations. One voice.”